Hey Steve, I dare you to jump in that lake…Florence, OR7/24/2010

So I have not blogged about the last 22 or so days.  This is mainly because of the lack of internet or the lack of time to access a computer in that timeframe.  I hope to post information on the past three weeks later- perhaps after our arrival in San Francisco.  But for now, I will finish out my blog on current events.  No pictures today, for sure tomorrow.

Today began nice and early at 5am because of a 5pm dinner and a 7pm portraits presentation at our stayover in Florence, 89 miles away.  I was very proud of the cereal that I had purchased last night.  Just gobs of cheap chocolate cereal.  My father would have been proud.

So began out venture to the coast and our final day heading west.  It is amazing to ponder that there is only ten days left on the trip.  After cleaning up the stayover and learning how to do the worm (or for me, the beached whale) we were off.  I spread the rest stops out a bit so that one of our rest stops could be close to Triangle Lake at mile 46. 

On our accent to the top of one of our final hills of the ride, we found a memorial for a 17 year old girl.  At a gas station a couple miles back, we had heard that there had been a recent accident that shook the town.  She had been with a few friends driving fast up that same hill, took a curve too fast and fell out of the doorless jeep and off the side of the mountain. Scary.  We took a few moments to say a few prayers good words.  I imagined if my life had ended at 17 and at that same moment was thankful for how fruitful it has been.

Our rest stop at the lake was well fought for with a more challenging route than hoped for.  Midway through the rest stop, Greg DOUBLE dog dared me to jump in the lake.  I had been planning on it anyway.  First I jumped off a mini trampoline into the water followed by a creaky slide in.  The water temperature perfectly complimented the hot weather outside and I was very happy I hopped in.  Unfortunately, I put my shoes on in a rush when my feet were still a little wet.  Needless to say, they smelled pretty bad after forty more miles and a pair of smelly bike shoes.

We set off to mile 65 towards our next rest stop.  On our way there, Shea was having problems with his crank being loose, so he often stopped to tighten it.  During one of these stops, I checked my back tire which has been dangerously worn down and coming up on its last miles.  There was a huge hole in it and my intertube was pertruding out of my tire.  I couldn’t ride my bike!  Luckily, Lauren was nice enough to let me use her back wheel for the next ten while she rested her knee for that 20 mile segment.

I changed my tires at the rest stop, ate some lunch, had a ginger beer and was off.  Lauren back on the bike, Shea and I.  We stopped at mile 80 for a quick bathroom break and water fill up.  By quick I meant get ready to hop on the bikes and then spend thirty to forty more minutes talking to a crazy guy and a cyclist named Nathan. 

First the crazy man.  HUGE hippy.  I think he rolled his own ciggerette in front of us.  He asked us what we were up to all dressed in bike gear and we tole him we were on a long journey raising money.  He was very impressed.  I asked what he was up to.  He is walking from Eugene, OR to 1600 miles away to somewhere along the coast in California protesting the oil spill.  This guy had been apart of the first Earth Day and dedicated his life to the environment.  He is on food stamps, hasn’t paid his taxes since 1975 and only has the cash and backpack that is on him.  He plans to beg for work to provide him food and plans to donate any money he does earn.  He is 57.  I admired his dedication to his beliefs although he was a little self centered.  We actually ran into him outside of a restaurant that offered him a job on their farm in return for food.   His feet were bloody from his journey that he was only five days deep.  I hope he reaches his destination safely.

We met a cyclist named Nathan as well.  His bike was sweet and I wish I took a picture of it.  He has epilepsy.  Because of this, he is on a couple of medications to alleviate the symptoms.  One of his medications makes him extremely drowsy- so much that he is not allowed to drive.  Thus, he bikes EVERYWHERE.  He is not a crazy, fly up a mountain, winning ten tour de Frances in a row type of rider.  He is however, one of the nicest cyclists I have met on the road and we were honored when he asked if he could join us on our road to Florence. 

We made it just in time for our meal at 5pm.  Chicken, potato salad, beans, lasagna, watermelon, grapes and more.  Afterwards, our portraits presentation.  Following our powerpoint was a talk from a local man who started the organization Friends of Florence.  This organization drives cancer patients to hospitals that are not close for their treatments.  The man who talked to us (who’s name was PJ?) founded the organization after experiencing how much money it costs to travel for chemo appointments first hand.  It is a very cool organization and is very convienient for a town with a large elderly population to have a service like this. 

Finally, a sink shower.  I SMELLED.  But, now I don’t.  Time to buy some PPJ and breakfast for the team for tomorrow.  I am excited to head south down the coast and to finally see the Pacific Ocean!  I thought I was going to see it today but I did not have time.  I think we are going to have some nice tailwind as well… AT LAST.

Comments (2)
  • donna kalis says:

    Friends of Florence sounds great. As you’ve experienced, their are many throughout this country that are helping ohers…your team being a big factor. Thanks again and enjoy the Pacific Ocean. You might see the seals on the coast. AS a child, had many family car vacations to Eugene to visit my Dads’ parents. Love, Donna

  • Nanna aunts Linda n clare says:

    Hi steve

    This is lauren’s family. I am aunt Linda. Purousing the blog for first time ever. Am so impressed with the collective experiences and physical n mental discipline you have all demonstrated. Tell Lauren we r proud of her!

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